It is unclear how many South Carolinians have signed up for a high-risk health insurance pool run by the federal government, the month-old first initiative under the new federal health insurance plan.
Nationally, about 2,400 people have applied. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, however, has declined to release enrollment figures for individual states, asserting it is too early to use enrollment as a gauge.
The new, federally-administered Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan is designed as a temporary stop-gap to allow residents with chronic conditions such as asthma, HIV-AIDS and diabetes to purchase coverage until 2014.
After that, insurance carriers can no longer deny coverage for a pre-existing condition. The far-reaching Affordable Care Act, passed this year by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama, takes effect and would prohibit such denials.